In this installment of Tentacle Tuesday, we shall bear witness to a somewhat surprising facet of superhero life: superheroes sometimes struggle with tentacles, too.
To kick off the festivities (and to respect a chronological order of creation and publication), here’s The Flash narrating a story of woe, his almost-deadly encounter with a green monstrosity (Judging by its coquettish pink tentacles, the monster wanted to woo him, not snuff him out.)
« The Liar’s Club », scripted by Gardner Fox and drawn by Lou Ferstadt, concerns itself with three men (one of whom is Jay Garrick, secretly The Flash) holding a fibbing contest to determine who can tell the biggest Flash-whopper.
The Flash may have been embroiled in some purely imaginary tentacles, but his Earth-One counterpart’s teenage sidekick (it’s complicated), Kid Flash, encountered the real deal.
« A Mystical Realm, A World Gone Mad », scripted by Steve Skeates and drawn by Nick Cardy, is actually a pretty good read (with good art!), and I don’t even like superheroes. Just check out the beautiful results of a time travel experiment going wrong (when does one ever go right?), including the evil red eyes of a glaring octopus:
If we throw a whole bevy of superheroes at a tentacled monster, are they going to fare any better?
This cover promises lots of tentacular fun. Instead of that, the Fantastic Four (and an infant) go looking for a new residence, something quiet and secluded – and the house that’s offered to them by a real estate agent appears to be haunted. At the very least, it causes migraines, gradually makes its inhabitants go blind, and shoots stun bolts out of its walls. The usual crap. I don’t want to tell you which super-villain is behind this mischief, but I will, however, point out that the bastard doesn’t have tentacles. Not even one. And neither does his lousy house.
The Flash is small fry, the Fantastic Four are mincemeat, but let’s see how Superman, the most superhero-like superhero of them all, fares when confronted with tentacles.
In “Danger — Monster at Work!”, the villain is a protoplasmic glob: some algae mutates after a lab accident and becomes an out-of-control, garbage-devouring, tentacled monster. Now, trash disposal is important, but when Superman realizes that everything on earth is impure to some degree, he has to stop the seaweed monstrosity before “it cleans Metropolis right off the map!”
Incidentally, there *is* actually an algae farm that’s suspended over a highway in Geneva, Switzerland that gobbles up CO2 produced by car engines. I hope they’re keeping a close eye on it…
How about if we take a superhero who’s quite at ease with water, who can breathe H2O and communicate with sea life?
“Nope, sorry, still gonna gobble you.”
Oh, no! What is our hero going to do? Why, dispatch the octopus in the most far-fetched manner possible, of course!
In conclusion, no superhero is immune from a harrowing encounter with a tentacled creature… but sadly, the latter is more often than not annihilated in the struggle. Next time, I’ll make sure to present you with some material in which the octopus gets the upper hand, so to speak!
Jack Kirby drew another “heroes menaced by metaphorical tentacles” cover approximately eight years later for Captain America #210…
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